The state Senate voted 23 to 12 along party lines Thursday night on bill which would establish a formal mechanism to forge consensus on budget projections.
The bill which cropped up Wednesday afternoon helped stall budget negotiations between the legislature’s Democratic majority and Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
But that didn’t seem to worry Democrats too much Thursday night as they flexed their muscles and went forward with the debate despite a Republican amendment which would force them to vote against their own budget proposal.
During the debate on the bill Thursday the Senate Republican’s introduced an amendment, which included the Democratic budget proposal passed by the two budget writing committees earlier this year.
Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, who introduced the Democratic budget proposal as an amendment said he couldn’t support it because it included $3.3 billion in new taxes. However, he found it curious that his Democratic colleagues continue to tout it as the only balanced budget proposal on the table, yet refuse to vote on it.
Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, said “it seems almost a silly thing to try to do tonight.” She said the committee budgets were products to start negotiations.
Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said the amendment is bad because it would cause the governor to veto the underlying bill. “We want this to be passed and signed by the governor,” Williams said.
“If you think its a real budget vote on it,” Sen. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, said.
Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said “Let’s be honest you want to embarrass the governor,” by passing the underlying bill.
“If you don’t like your own budget then don’t vote for it,” he said.
The amendment, which amounted to the Democratic budget proposal unanimously failed 0-35.
The underlying bill, which now goes to the House for approval, passed 23-12 along party lines.
The underlying bill requires budget analysts of the executive and legislative branches to issue consensus revenue estimates up to three times a year to guide the governor’s budget proposal and the budget approved by the legislature.
“The urgent need for this initiative became dreadfully apparent this year after the governor’s budget office grossly and irresponsibly underestimated, and then repeatedly ignored the true scope of the state’s projected deficit for the next two years,” Daily said.
In an effort to get those budget negotiations started again Rell proposed a supplemental budget Thursday afternoon which cuts an additional $1.3 billion. Click here to read more about that